Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Legal claims over unfair dismissals threaten to paralyse Botswana police

Botswana Police Service has refused to comment on fears that it is snowed under an avalanche of legal claims that threaten to paralyse its operations. In what one insider described as a clear and present danger, it is feared that the sustained haemorrhaging of resources and manpower by the police service may compromise the country’s security. Botswana Police Service spokesperson Senior Superintendent Dipheko Motube this week refused to answer a questionnaire from the Sunday Standard saying the issues raised in the were internal matters and not for public consumption. In one particular incident, the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) had to intervene and interdict the Botswana Police Service from dismissing one of its officers.

Allegations are that the Botswana Police wanted the officer in question evicted from a house that he is staying in but when he intended to challenge its decision, the DPP declined to represent the Botswana Police Service on the basis that its decision to evict him was ill-advised. Sources say the case is not an isolated incident and the DPP has even cautioned the Botswana Police on a number of occasions to exercise restraint when dealing with issues relating to dismissals of employees. While Sunday Standard was unable to establish the numbers of dismissed officers, accusations are flying fast and thick that that since Police Commissioner Keabetswe Makgope assumed office, the Botswana Police Service has dismissed a considerable number of police officers “for most trivial of issues.”

Officers are also accusing the Botswana Police Service of unfair dismissal because their cases at the disciplinary hearing are heard by conflicted officers who sit in the Botswana Council. Government is said to be losing a lot of money through officers who are dismissed after disciplinary hearings. There are also complaints that some officers have to wait for years for their appeals to be heard. Allegations that police officers charged with various offences are not happy with the disciplinary process as the senior officers presiding over their cases always ensure that “they are dismissed to please the Commissioner.”

It is understood that this has not only destabilised the Botswana Police Service but has also led to low morale among officers in the lower rank. The Sunday Standard also sought to establish the number of disciplinary cases which are pending at the moment and some of the alleged offences that have led to a number of officers being dismissed from work in recent years.

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